TLDR: THE SIGNATURE BOX IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE
*Wicked*, Winnie Holzman’s and Stephanie Schwartz’s American musical based on Gregory Maguire’s Wizard of Oz spinoff novel by the same name, has been one of the most profitable and popular Broadway musicals in recent memory. Fans have been teased with the possibility of a film version since 2012. Now, Universal Studios has slated December 2021 for an official theatrical release. The question on everyone’s mind is: who to cast in the lead role of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of The West?
Judging by the recently unfortunate decision to cast Cats with immediately recognizable stars (Taylor Swift, James Corden, Jennifer Hudson, et al), the real fear for fans of *Wicked* is that the same will happen. The star power of Cats failed to ensure the film’s success, and there’s no reason to believe the *Wicked* film would fare any better if studded with Hollywood celebrities.
Commercial success aside, to ensure the integrity of the project there’s only one person for the job. None other than the original Elphaba herself, Idina Menzel
Although Stephanie J. Block was the true very first Elphaba ever, she has displayed little interest in the role now, and it would be unfair to force the role onto someone who doesn't want it simply for nostalgia's sake.
Idina Menzel replaced Block as the second stage Elphaba and was the first Elphaba on Broadway and is Elphaba in the official soundtrack for the musical. So, though not the first, in many of our minds, her voice is synonymous with Elphaba.
In addition, Menzel has an avid interest in the role, stating, "I still think that I should be Elphaba and I should just throw, slap that green makeup on me and get some CGI and Benjamin Button the shit out of that. I mean I love you, Ariana [Grande], but I still am relevant here".
While some would argue that Edina Menzel (age 48) is too old for the part, this isn’t something that would hold Menzel back. Firstly, Menzel inarguably looks great for her age. Additionally, as she said in the quote above, her whole face would be covered with green face paint and makeup. Besides, it’s only in the first half of the story that the character of Elphaba is a college student who would need to look young, the other half takes place an unspecified number of years later. The studio can easily remove what few signs of age a makeup-covered Mendel might show with a little bit of CGI, and that would arguably only be necessary in the first half of the film.
Others may argue that being a stage actor and a film actor are two totally different things and that just because someone performed on Broadway doesn’t mean that they can perform in film, which is true. However, this is not an argument that is a valid protest against Idina Menzel. Menzel is not just a highly experienced stage actress and musician; she has also participated in films and television such as Glee, Rent, Uncut Gems, and much more.
A musical film cannot simply rely on the idea that all the fans of the original musical are a guaranteed audience. Again, look to Cats. The original Cats musical won three Tony Awards. Yet, the Cats movie, for all its star power and fans of the original, flopped. What I’m saying is that putting the original Elphaba, which many fans of the musical may not have had the chance to see her on Broadway, will pull fans into seats.
It's the logical choice to cast Menzel as Elphaba. I'm hoping this petition may have some effect -- that it may raise awareness and interest in the film. Please, if this appeals to you, sign my petition.
We the undersigned, request Universal Studios to cast Idina Menzel as Elphaba in the 2021 theatrical release of *Wicked*.
The Cast Idina Menzel as Elphaba in the upcoming *Wicked* movie petition to Universal Studios was written by C-J Reyes and is in the category Arts & Entertainment at GoPetition.